Back in 2002, when I was expecting my second child, I was 36-years-old. My doctor at the time advised me to have an amniocentesis test, which is the form of pre-natal screening we have here in New Zealand. The doctors test for Down’s syndrome by inserting a long needled into the womb and extracting amniotic fluid.

pregnant-with-sam

I panicked. I thought what if the results come back as positive? It was a decision I simply couldn’t make. I decided against taking the test.

In New Zealand, we were told at the time, one in 600 babies were born with Down’s syndrome.

In the UK, between 1989 and 2012, 20,000 babies were diagnosed through the new non‐invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). Of these, 92% were aborted. And, being classified as a ‘severe disability’, abortion can take place right up until birth.

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I’m so glad I somehow found the strength to resist the pressure of the medical professionals around me at the time, because my second son was born with Down’s syndrome. Sam-the-man, The Sam. As my mother said at the time, he has more God in him than anyone else. It’s true. It bothers me deeply to think of the pressure I was put under during the early stages of my pregnancy to get tested.

The NIPT is expected to drastically improve the rates of diagnosis of Down’s syndrome in England, which they project will result in 102 more babies with the syndrome being detected each year. When abnormality is detected, the only counselling offered to women after diagnosis is usually heavily pointed towards abortion. In Britain, the only counselling charity the National Health Service directs women to is, Antenatal Results and Choices, formerly known as Support Around Termination For Abnormality.

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These sad facts came to light recently, through actress Sally Phillips recent BBC documentary; ‘A World without Down’s syndrome?’ The acclaimed actress, mother to a daughter with Down’s syndrome, dared to ask the question, ‘What’s so dreadful about Down’s syndrome?’ Phillips travels the world and speaks to various people, including, ‘Emma’ who despite having been firm in her decision not to be tested for the condition ‘had to constantly justify her decision to medical practitioners.’

Why do we need to justify wanting to keep our unborn child?

On the award-winning Down syndrome blog, Downs Side Up, Hayley Goleniowska has a mission. That of ‘Gently changing perceptions of Down syndrome from within people’s hearts.’

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This mama is speaking my language.

Hayley: My mission is now to inspire new parents, show the world that many incredible things are possible for our children, and shout out that Down’s syndrome truly is wonderful and that life will carry on, there will be challenges, but you will not regret or wish to change any of it. 

You go, Hayley!

Her daughter, Natty, was the first child in Britain with a disability to appear in a Back to School Campaign.

Our youngest daughter Natty is a clothing model, pioneering for children with disabilities everywhere. She is a true ambassador in her own right, opening doors and forcing companies to be more inclusive in their approach to advertising.

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The writer, Ciarán Kelly commented sagely on the issue. ‘The new NIPT test has its roots in the Idea that some people’s lives have little or no value and therefore should be screened out from society. This is profoundly wrong. Unborn children are perhaps the most vulnerable people in our world and need to be protected. All human beings are made in the image of God and have a special, intrinsic value regardless of how young or how old, how able-bodied or disabled they might be. This does not apply only to those with Down’s syndrome. Neither does it apply only to those whom parent, family or society has deemed ‘makes a contribution’. It applies to us all.’ ~ Ciarán Kelly

http://www.affinity.org.uk/downloads/The%20Bulletin/issue-33/4)-a-world-without-downs-syndrome.pdf

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Exactly. When something happens to one of us it happens to all of us. I had an incident happen within my own family this week, where I had to stand up and defend Sam against a member of the general public. And it made me aware once again of how little people really understand about these amazing gentle people. It’s such a shame. We are none of us, not Trump in the White House nor Natty the child Down’s syndrome model, any better than the other. We are all equal. That’s what my son reminds me of every day. We are all human. We all deserve to be here.

What are your feelings on who gets to be human?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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#justaboutcoping, #worldwithoutdowns, #worldwithdowns

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‘The value of human life does not lie in its contribution to society at large, or even to the happiness of a particular family’ ~ Ciarán Kelly

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

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Comments
  1. I love that actress she is so funny and smiley. Fabulous that she pioneers for her kid like that. She has the contacts to get her daughter a role like that. You are doing awesome. Ignore the haters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yeah, Sally Phillips is great. I admire these people that go out on the frontline, too. The other mama I mentioned, Hayley Goleniowska, has a blog solely about this and she’s doing brilliant stuff. It warms the heart. I was just saying on the blog of another author friend, that this feels like a time of growing hope and positivity. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. emaginette says:

    I still remember my sister asking what I’d do if I had a child with downs. I was pregnant at the time and I couldn’t believe how ignorant she was. My answer was simple… I’d love him. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bun Karyudo says:

    Abortion for whatever reason is a very personal issue and one that can quickly inflame passions and start arguments. I’ll give my opinion, but I realize not everyone will agree. I think in a situation regarding Down’s Syndrome as in any other, the final decision must ultimately be up to the mother. She should, of course, have all the relevant information, and it should not be presented in a slanted or biased way.

    I don’t know any people with Down’s Syndrome, but my impression from what I’ve seen and read is that they have as much happiness and fulfilment as anyone else as long as they have friends, love, support and all the other things that make life worth living. If I were a mother, I personally would want to carry the child to term.

    On the other hand, there are many other possible conditions that children can have, and some of these may involve huge amounts of pain and discomfort. In such cases, I might decide to have an abortion. I therefore believe mothers should have the option of abortion and I would not ban it.

    It’s a course of action I would only ever take with extreme reluctance and as last resort, though. I was born to an underage mother and so was adopted as a baby by another family. I’ve often thought how easy it would have been for my birth mother to have had me aborted. I’ve always been very grateful to her that she choose not to go down that route.

    This reluctance to have an abortion is my own personal stance, however. (And I realize it’s an entirely hypothetical one for me since I’m a man!) I would never blame anyone for their decision, whatever it was, as long as it was made seriously and with considerable thought beforehand. Sadly, people are often very quick to point the finger and criticize others, but that’s not fair. Some decisions are genuinely difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Gosh, thank you for your heartfelt reply, Bun. To be clear, I am not anti-abortion at all, by any means. I’m so thankful we’re having this conversation because it’s so important to hear one another and speak, too, in these times.
      I am pro-choice. I am glad we live in this day and age, and women finally have safe options in some countries.
      This post shares some figures and facts, and my feelings.
      In my own choice, it was not something to do with any kind of dogma, no, far from it. I don’t know how to explain how I felt, other than I just couldn’t do it. That’s all. I have no words to explain how it was for me.
      And, I’m moved by the fact that so many of these beings are eradicated each year. Simple.
      Thank you for telling me more about yourself. I’m honoured. I gave birth to my eldest boy when I was newly-turned seventeen. He was due to be picked up by adoptive parents. I ended up (after much drama) keeping him. A story for another time, but, let us just say, there are repercussions either way.
      No way is perfect. Each life is littered with pains. Yet, it’s what we make of what we’re given that counts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        Thank you for your very thoughtful reply, Yvette. I just reread my original comment and realize I may have come across as far more stern than I meant to. I’m a little worried that I may have sounded hurt or upset in some way, but I absolutely wasn’t. 🙂 Your original post was very touching, honest and personal and made me think (always a dangerous move on my part!), so I wanted to reply to it with the seriousness it deserved.

        It sounds like we may both have remarkably similar feelings about the whole subject. Like you, I’m not anti-abortion, but also like you, it’s not something I take lightly. You must have had so much to reflect on in all three of your pregnancies. (I just read on your “About” page that your youngest son also had a heart issue when he was young.)

        It’s difficult ever to be certain when it comes to hypotheticals, but my strong suspicion is that if I’d been in the same types of situation, I’d have behaved exactly as you did ech time. This isn’t meant to be an implicit criticism of women who reach other decisions. Questions like this are not simple. It’s just how I think I personally would have responded.

        Anyway, I apologize for writing yet another novella in response to your post. I hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • yvettecarol says:

        No worries, Bun. In fact, when I see a novella-esque repy, I feel very honoured and chuffed. Thank you for taking the time to “think” and ponder on this issue with me. Yes, it’s deep, turbulent water this sort of issue. As you say, each person has a right to their choice, and each person’s choice is right.
        Thanks, also, for reading my About Me page.
        The stories of my boys and their respective starts in life shall be the subject of future speeches. Ever since I began Toastmasters, I have had the intention of expressing some of the marvellous rollercoaster I have been on, in the hope that my “adventures” may help and inspire other parents. 🙂
        Have a fab weekend, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        It sounds like a wonderful topic for future speeches! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your mother sounds like a wise woman. Sam looks like he’s got a lot of God in him. Thanks for sharing this very personal story, Yvette. Everyone deserves to be a human. Even bad people who judge everyone who isn’t exactly like them. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Joylene. It was what was “up” this week so I decided to share. It feels good and freeing to talk about the difficult things now and then.
      My mother was like a child in some ways and she had the sort of natural wisdom you expect from the youthful mind/person. I miss her.
      As for Sam, he’s something else. He changes everything for the better and brightens a room 🙂

      Like

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